COVID-19: How to Protect Yourself and Family from Catching It
- Avoid any contact with people known to have COVID-19 infection. Avoid talking to or sitting close to them.
- Social Distancing: try to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from anyone who is sick, especially if they are coughing. Also called physical distancing. Avoid crowds, because you can’t tell who might be sick.
- If COVID-19 becomes widespread in your community, try to stay 6 feet away (2 meters) from everyone outside your family unit.
- Follow any stay at home (stay in place) orders in your community. Leave your home only for essential needs such as buying food or seeking medical care.
- Wash hands often with soap and water, especially before you eat.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if water is not available. Reason: soap and water work better.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth unless your hands are clean. Germs on the hands can get into your body this way.
- Don’t share glasses, plates or eating utensils.
- No longer shake hands with people. Greet others with a smile and a nod.
- Avoid ERs and urgent care clinics if you don’t need to go there. These are places where you are likely to be exposed to infections.
- Masks: the CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask, unless you are sick.
Keep Your Body Strong
- Get your body ready to fight the COVID-19 virus.
- Get enough sleep (very important).
- Keep your heart strong. Walk or exercise every day. Take the stairs. Caution: avoid physical exhaustion.
- Stay well-hydrated.
- Eat healthy meals. Avoid overeating to deal with your fears.
- Avoid the over-use of anti-fever medicines. Fever fights infections and ramps up your immune system.
Keep Your Mind Positive
- Live in the present, not the future. The future is where your needless worries live. Stay positive.
- Use a mantra to reduce your fears, such as “I am strong, like a bear.”
- Listen to peaceful, comforting music.
- Go to a park if you live near one. Being in nature is good for your immune system.
- Hug your family members frequently. Speak to them in a kind and loving voice. Love strengthens your immune system.
- Use regular phone calls and video chats to stay in touch with those you love.
- If community spread is very low where you live, the following normal social contacts can be considered:
- Visit with family and close friends, as long as they are well and a small group.
- For children, consider play-dates with a few of your child’s close friends. Outdoor time is always best.
- But if you worry about who might be coming down with illness, you will be choosing isolation for your family, perhaps for months.
How to Protect Others – Stay Home When Sick
- Stay home from school or work while sick. Your doctor or local health department will tell you when it is safe to return.
- Cough and sneeze into your shirt sleeve or inner elbow. Don’t cough into your hand or the air.
- If available, sneeze into a tissue and throw it into a trash can.
- Wash hands often with soap and water. After coughing or sneezing are important times.
- Wear a face mask when around others.
Author: Barton Schmitt, MD, FAAP
Copyright: Copyright 2020. Updated 3/31/2020.
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.